Many people dream of making a living as a musician, painter, writer or other creative artist. But getting paid for your artistic work can present a hurdle, especially when you’re working on your own, without the benefit of a big promotional agency, gallery or publisher. Independent artists must think like any self-employed business person, finding new markets for their work and using all their connections to get the word out about their creations.
Build a Base
Brian Marshall White, author of “Breaking Into the Art World” suggests that artists establish a base income that will allow them to live while pursuing creative work. While this income could come from a day job such as waiting tables, he sees opportunities to earn this income while pursuing art. This might mean teaching music, writing or painting to children or adults, or pursuing commercial art or technical writing. This type of art might not be the creative avenue you most want to pursue, but it does allow you to make contacts and learn new techniques, not to mention pay the rent, while you devote your spare time to artistic pursuits.
Explore New Markets
Looking outside conventional markets could help you find new sources of income for your artistic works. The owners of your favorite restaurant, coffee shop or tavern might be willing to display your art. They get decoration for their place of business and you get exposure. Attach a card with a sales price and contact information to each piece. A writer might offer to compose personalized children’s stories for Christmas and birthdays, or love stories for Valentine’s day. You might create hand-painted cards and journals to sell at craft fairs, or offer your musical performances to schools, churches and festivals.
Break Into Business
The business world needs artists too. Banks and manufacturers need logos, Christmas cards and covers for brochures. They need reports, company histories, newsletters and white papers. They need jingles for advertisements and messages for callers on hold. As an artist, offer your services to local businesses. Create a brochure and some sample products and pitch your services as a way for the business to stand out from the competition.
You can create your own website inexpensively and offer your artwork, writing or music for sale to people all over the world. Self-publishing software allows artists to publish their own books and create their own music for distribution online. Sites such as Etsy.com expose artwork to buyers searching for unique gifts. Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter also help you market your work to buyers, without having to invest in a storefront or even a stall at an artists’ fair.